Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What's Fresh with Paula Chase Hyman's Del Rio Bay Series!

It's junior year at Del Rio Bay High, and from near and far, the guys are taking center stage...

Now that Mina's boyfriend Brian is off to Duke University, life in Del Rio Bay is lonely. And Brian's busy schedule as a Duke baller isn't helping. As the season heats up and the phone calls get fewer, Mina's insecurity increases—and so does Brian's impatience with it. But he's not the only guy in the clique dealing with craziness.
Michael's passion for fashion has led to a chance to attend a special creative arts program in D.C. He knows he should jump on it, but leaving home is harder than he thought. He turns to his dancer friend Rob for support, but Rob's presence around the clique triggers star athlete JZ's feelings of homophobia. As JZ's discomfort simmers, his feelings get the best of him when he finds himself seriously attracted to Jacinta—and discovers she's on a different page.

With relationships in the balance and friendships at risk, Flipping the Script (Del Rio Bay Novels) challenges the guys to step up when the stakes are high.

Hello, Paula, it is a pleasure to have you back with us on YA Fresh for an interview about the entire Del Rio Bay series! Please tell us about your series and the latest novel in the set.

Paula: I think this is the first time I've had to summarize the entire series. Wow, big reality check that it's over. The Del Rio Bay series is about six friends and the trials their friendship endures as they mature from freshman to juniors. It's sort of like giving a middle school reader a chance to look in a crystal ball and see what high school could (probably will) do to their friendships. You go in thinking friendships, tastes, values are the same but they morph in high school big time.

The last book, Flipping The Script (Dafina, April '09) is the final Act and centers primarily on the male characters as one comes to grips with how his sexuality will impact the circle.

What was the most difficult part of writing this series?

Paula: Maybe it's easy to say this now, because it's over, but writing the series was easy. Maybe too easy because now that I've moved on I'm realizing how hard writing is. That's weird isn't it? I've written five books and now it's hard! But I got to dwell in the heads of these characters so long, thinking like them was second nature. Honestly, the hardest part was moving on and quieting their voices. I wanted to write a sixth book, but my publisher passed. But man, try telling the characters that the curtain has fallen. That was hard.

Could you tell us what type of promotion you or your publisher have done for your series?

Paula: You know how writers are always warning newbies that promo will not fall primarily in their laps? Well, I'm a prime example of that happening. Although my publisher paid for me to attend BEA, one year, and they secured several major reviews (Booklist, Publishers Weekly and Kirkus) I'd say 95% of the promo was initiated and implemented by me. My largest promo tool is my website and that's where I sunk a good portion of my marketing dollars. However, I also networked heavily in the kiddie lit community among gatekeepers to build good word-of-mouth for the series. I did a lot of library visits for the first three books and a few literary festivals. But now, my promo is primarily online - blog tours, guest blogging and ads on teen friendly sites like teensreadtoo and blackteensread2.

Please list one similarity and one difference between yourself and your main character.

Paula: Mina and I grew up in the exact same environment. The Woods, where she lives and DRB High, are both based on my own neighborhood and high school. But where we're different is Mina's strength. The things she endures, I think she handles way better than I would have at her age. I wanted her to be vulnerable, like many teens are when they're learning about the world around them, but I also wanted her to have this quirky sense of resiliency that I never truly possessed as a teen.

Thank you again for sharing, Paula! I wish you the best on your next writing project! Could you please tell us one of your favorite lines from one or each of the books?

Paula: So Not The Drama - Popularity is a drug. You get a taste of it and suddenly the looks you get from people, the way you get treated, the things you get away with…you need it. You honest to God, need it. (I love this line because it sets the tone for this book but not the entire series, like some people assume)

Don't Get It Twisted - Having him all up on her was like being snuggled inside a freshly washed sweatshirt. (Is it just me? I love the smell and feel of a newly washed hoodie!)

That's What's Up - Yes, I’m growing it out. Changing my style to go along with my new status as Cinny without Raheem, she thought silently in the quiet darkness. (The character is talking about changing her hair to reinforce that she's moving on as she contemplates breaking up with her BF. I love the simplicity of the thought that you can do one as easily as the other)

Who You Wit'?- And Jacinta still remembered her father watching Taquon walk down the street in a bikini top and bootie shorts, stretch marked stomach on
display, shaking his head wondering aloud where her parents had been while she’d been out having sex with a boyfriend who was fifteen but still only in seventh grade. (I love this line because even as adults we sometimes flash back to something our parents said to us and the flash is so strong it's like reliving it...even when what was said seems so throwaway at the time)

Paula Chase Hyman's Del Rio Bay series helped launch Kensington Books YA line in March 2007. Dedicated to working with teens, she co-founded the Committed Black Women in 1993, a high school mentoring group and coached a competitive squad for five years.

She recently co-founded The Brown Bookshelf with five author friends. The site is dedicated to honoring vanguard authors and showcasing the myriad of talented African American children’s lit authors and illustrators flying under-the-radar of librarians, parents and teachers. Visit her at and

5 fresh comments:

TinaFerraro said...

Hi, Paula, and thank you for visiting us again! And I have to say that I agree, that sometimes the writing gets harder, not easier!

Johanna Knowles said...

I love your promo answer, Paula! Do you think with future books you'll do something different? Or do you think the Web is the place to be?



Paula said...

Tina, I'm wondering if I knew that it would be harder or at least, equally as hard as writing the first, if I would have bothered? But as soon as I ask I know the answer. I don't write because I want to, I write because I have to. The stories are in me and I want to tell them.

Jo, I ask myself this often. There's this part of me (and it's bitter, I'll admit) that says next go' round I will not knock myself out promoting. It takes up too much time and creative bandwidth.

But I'm such a Type A person that I can't imagine not jumping on opportunities if I see them or think they'll help increase awareness.

My hope is I'll find middle ground much earlier! said...

What a reat interview! What a great site! I just added you to my Terrific Blogs list. Keep up the good work, you two.

sansan riswana said...
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